Car hire in South Africa

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Car hire in South Africa

Tips for a cheap rental car

Getting a rental for your holiday in South Africa is a very good idea. With a hired car, you’ll be able to see many exciting places that you might otherwise have missed. South Africa’s landscape really is incomparable, and with a rental car you’ll get the most out of your holiday.


There are a few rules and requirements for car hire in South Africa. These requirements will largely depend on the car rental firm you choose, but there are a few general rules to consider before renting a car.

  • You need to be at least 23 years old and have held a driving licence for a minimum of 5 years to be able to rent a car in South Africa. This age limit might vary depending on the type of car you want to hire.
  • Most car rental firms will charge extra if you are under 25 years old.
  • Several companies do not allow car rental for people over 70 years, but this will depend on the company’s terms.

Keep in mind that these rules and conditions might not be the same at all car rental companies. It is therefore important that you carefully read the terms and conditions before booking a rental car.

Add-ons at booking

If you want extra equipment in the car, e.g. a GPS or a child car seat, it is easiest to add this already when booking the car. This will facilitate the pick up of your car and ensure that the equipment is available on site.

Having a GPS in the car when driving in South Africa is a very good idea. There are many small and snaky roads in the countryside, and there is a risk of getting lost.

In the country, it is recommended that children shorter than 135 centimetres use child car seats or booster seats. Because of this, it’s smart to add a child car seat to your booking if you will be travelling with children.

Driving in South Africa

Although South Africa has left-hand traffic, the “priority to the right-rule” applies, meaning that drivers coming from the right have priority at uncontrolled intersections. You must therefore yield to drivers approaching from the right if there are no priority signs.

Some roads in the countryside are in quite bad condition, and are sometimes unpaved. It’s also very common for animals to be on the road, so make sure to stay alert when driving. The traffic in South Africa is usually quite aggressive, and it’s recommended to keep a safe distance to cars in front of you to avoid accidents (no tailgating).

Also pay attention to what area you are driving in. Try to plan your route in advance to avoid ending up in bad neighbourhoods. Never leave valuables in the car.

Below is a list of a few South African traffic rules.

  • Driver and passengers must always wear a seat belt when the car is moving.
  • Several roads and bridges are tolled. The fee can be payed on site with cash or card. In the area around Johannesburg there are also tolls that are payed using electronic pass. Check with your car rental company to find out more about the electronic passes.
  • Getting an International Driving Permit can be a good idea as this will make it easier if you are stopped by the police.
  • The speed limits are generally: 60 km/h (about 35 mph) in urban areas, 100 km/h (about 60 mph) on main raods and 120 km/h (about 70 mph) on motorways. Many people don’t follow these speed limits but, from a safety perspective, it’s important that you do.
  • For a driver being overtaken, it’s common practice to use the hard shoulder to facilitate.
  • Talking on the phone without a handsfree while driving is illegal.